Golf Clubs are very much a personal choice. For all the money spent on advertising, most golfers find a typical brand that they are happy with and will use them for at least a year or two before considering upgrading.
In the professional ranks however, club sponsorship deals mean that professionals may have slightly less freedom than the average golfer when it comes to club selection. Of course, the top ten in the world benefit in many other ways, namely big fat sponsors cheques and a limitless supply of clubs tailor-made for their swing.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at which are the most popular clubs players from the World Top Ten have in their bag at present.
1. Taylor Made SLDR Driver – Four players in the World Top Ten (Henrik Stenson 3rd, Phil Mickelson 4th, Justin Rose 5th and Brandt Snedker 9th) all have the latest Taylor Made SLDR in their bag, indeed eight players inside the top 20 all use this as their choice of driver.
2. Titleist 913 D3 Driver – Two players in the World Top Ten (Adam Scott 2nd and Steve Stricker 8th) both use the Titleist 913 D3 as their
3. Nike VR S Covert Tour Driver – Two players in the World Top Ten (Tiger Woods 1st and Rory McIlroy 6th) both use the Nike Driver, though it is fair to say that both have struggled from the tee in the 2013 season. It will be interesting to see what Driver Nike come up with for 2014 to help their two stars address this issue.
4. Bridgestone J40 Driver – Matt Kuchar (7th) uses the Bridgestone J40 Driver, he is the only top ranked player on your that is known to have this club in his bag at present.
5. Titleist 910 D2 Driver – USPGA Champion Jason Dufner has remained loyal to the older Titleist 910 D2 Driver, although he does carry the 913 Fairway woods and Hybrids in his bag.
Other clubs that are popular with tour players include the Taylor Made R1 Driver, which is still used by a large number of professional ranked 50th or lower in the world and the Titleist 913 D2 Driver, which is used by the likes of Zach Johnson (14), Bill Haas (25), Victor Dubuisson (32), Matteo Manassero (38) and Joost Luiten (60).
Tee Beast : Jimmy Walker played 16 rounds and averaged 316.2 yards per drive (beaten only by Hideki Matsuyama who only played 9 rounds). Walker uses the the Titleist 913 D2 Driver.
One thing that is immediately apparent with a professional’s choice of irons is that they vary greatly, even if players share the same sponsor. As such, only two pairs of players inside the top ten use the same irons out on your each week, with no prizes for guessing who are the the most obvious of those duos.
Every player inside the top five uses different irons.
1. Nike VR Pro Blades – Tiger Woods (1st), Rory McIlroy (6th)
2. Bridgestone J40 Irons – Matt Kuchar (7th), Brandt Snedeker (9th)
3. Titleist AP2 Forged Irons – Steve Stricker (8th), Jason Dufner (10th)
4. Titleist MB Forged Irons – Adam Scott (2nd)
5. Callaway Legacy Black Irons – Henrik Stenson (3rd)
6. Callaway X Forged Irons – Phil Mickelson (4th)
7. Taylor Made RocketBladez Tour Irons – Justin Rose (5th)
Approach Star: Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama was the PGA Tour proximity to hole stats leader over the 2013 season, hitting his approach on average to around 24.2 feet from the hole, a foot and a half closer than second place Ryan Moore. Matsuyama uses Srixon Z-925 Irons, which none of the top ten golfers use.
Half of the top ten golfers in the world rely on Titleist’s famous Spin Milled Vokey Wedges for around the greens, but interestingly once again, all of the top five golfers in the world have different wedges in their bag, each from different manufacturers.
1. Titleist Spin Milled Vokey Wedges – Adam Scott (2nd), Matt Kuchar (7th), Steve Stricker (8th), Brandt Snedeker (9th), Jason Dufner (10th)
2. Nike VR Pro Forged Wedge – Tiger Woods (1st), Rory McIlroy (6th)
3. Cleveland 588 RTX Wedges – Henrik Stenson (3rd)
4. Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedges – Phil Mickelson (4th)
5. Taylor Made ATV Wedges – Justin Rose (5th)
Wedge Star: Retief Goosen was one of 11 players on the PGA Tour who hit 100% of greens from 100-125 yards over the course of the season. The South African uses the same Taylor Made ATV Wedges that Justin Rose uses.
A putter is always the most personal club in the bag and the fact that no golfer in the world’s top ten uses the same as any other will come as no surprise. Two golfers have had their own design of putter made for them (Stenson and Kuchar) while two others are using as-yet unavailable prototype putters (Rory McIlroy and Jason Dufner)
1. Nike Method 001 Putter – Tiger Woods (1st)
2. Scotty Cameron Futura X Mallet Putter – Adam Scott (2nd)
3. Pirelli Henrik Stenson Cottonwood 2 Putter – Henrik Stenson (3rd)
4. Odyssey Versa Putter – Phil Mickelson (4th)
5. Taylor Made Spider Blade Putter – Justin Rose (5th)
6. Nike Method 006 Prototype – Rory McIlroy (6th)
7. Bettinardi Kuchar Signature Model 1 Putter – Matt Kuchar (7th)
8. Odyssey White Hot #2 Putter – Steve Stricker (8th)
9. Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie Putter – Brandt Snedeker (9th)
10. Scotty Cameron GSS Circa 62 No 6 Prototype Putter – Jason Dufner (10th)
Best Putter on Tour: The best Putter on tour who played in more than 14 tournaments was Brian Gay who averaged 27.67 putts per round. He started the year playing a Bettinardi putter but later in the season made the switch to a Taylor Made Daytona 12 Ghost putter.
The common view that most top players still play a Titleist ProV1 or V1x ball does seem to hold out with four of the world’s top ten electing to play one of Titleist’s models. However, it is a surprise to see the Bridgestone Tour B330 S Ball more popular with top 10 golfers than any Nike, Taylor Made or Callaway ball.
1. Titleist ProV1 – Adam Scott (2nd), Jason Dufner (10th)
2. Titleist ProV1x – Henrik Stenson (3rd), Steve Stricker (8th)
3. Bridgestone Tour B330 S Ball – Matt Kuchar (7th), Brandt Snedeker (9th)
4. Nike ONE Tour D Ball – Tiger Woods (1st)
5. Callaway HEX Chrome+ – Phil Mickelson (4th)
6. Taylor Made Lethal Ball – Justin Rose (5th)
7. Nike 20XI X Ball – Rory McIlroy (6th)
Ball Fact: Golfer of the Year – Henrik Stenson plays the Titleist ProV1x Ball, as does Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth.
Images Courtesy of Tour Pro Golf Website